Subaru goes big in America with new Ascent SUV concept | CAR Magazine

Subaru goes big in America with new Ascent SUV concept

Published: 12 April 2017

► Subaru Ascent SUV concept revealed
► Three-row soft-roader for US market only
► Production model on sale in 2018

Subaru is aiming to muscle in on the full-size SUV segment in the States with this: the Subaru Ascent. The US-only SUV is Subaru’s headline act at the 2017 New York motor show.

This three-row SUV is just a concept for now, but Subaru is already developing a production model that will go toe-to-toe with the recently unveiled Volkswagen Atlas when it goes on sale in 2018. In fact, the Ascent is longer, taller and wider (if only by a few millimetres) than the Atlas, but has a slightly shorter wheelbase.

Design-wise, the Ascent looks like a Forester that’s taken one of those little blue pills, but that’s no bad thing. It’s follows Subaru’s typically utilitarian design mantra, but modern styling cues like the C-shaped headlights and hexagonal grille mean it still looks like a modern Subaru.

Subaru Ascent Concept interior

Inside, the centre console is tall, the seats and dashboard are trimmed in fine leather and the door inlays swoop into the main fascia. What will grab your attention first, though, is the massive central touchscreen; the shape and style is very Range Rover Velar-like and houses both the infotainment and climate control functions on one display. Of course, since it’s a Subaru, there’s a second display on top of that hidden in a small alcove, which presumably will display driver data and fuel economy figures.

A digital instrument display features, too, while small touchscreen displays in the doors control the windows and door locks. Whether any of this makes the production remains to be seen, but we live in hope. One thing that will definitely annoy the ‘Muricans is the lack of immediately visible cupholders for their Big Gulps and venti frappuccinos.

Subaru Ascent Concept rear seats

The most interesting thing about the Ascent concept is its seating arrangement; there are only two seats in the middle row, while the rear bench houses three. That seating arrangement is a rarity, as most other seven-seat cars have two rearmost seats that can be easily folded away, but it means that those in the middle row are treated to separate armchairs rather than a typical rear bench.

The Subaru Ascent is officially unveiled at the 2017 New York motor show, and a US-only production model will go on sale in 2018.

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By Jake Groves

CAR's deputy news editor, gamer, serial Lego-ist, lover of hot hatches